Calls for stricter laws, school security funding after shooting hoax

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Parents and grandparents of students at four high schools across New Mexico had reason to hold their kids tighter Thursday night.

Officers responded to Volcano Vista, Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, and Santa Fe high schools after reports of shootings. Luckily, it was all a hoax. Schools across the country reportedly got the same type of calls.

“This is no joke,” said one Bernalillo High School parent. “This is no joke.”

“I don’t know what type of level of pranks people are trying to pull today but that’s just way too far,” said one Rio Rancho High School parent.

The fear is not lost on state Sen. Craig Brandt, an advocate for better school security.

“No matter where a child lives in our state they deserve to be safe at school,” said Sen. Brandt. “I mean that’s the one place we need to make sure they can go when they don’t have to worry about these kinds of issues.”

Brandt sponsored Senate Bill 34 during the 2022 session. The goal was to make a school shooting threat a felony, but lawmakers decided to settle on making it a misdemeanor.

After Thursday’s scare, Brandt says he plans to bring it back.

“It’s very common sense,” said Brandt. “If it’s going to be a felony to be a bomb threat it should be a felony to call in and threaten to shoot up a school.”

Brandt is also co-sponsoring a bill to provide more than $100 million for public school capital outlay, for things like security and career technical education.

“What we’ve done in that bill is made it where usually a district has to come up with money of their own this money they won’t have to provide a match,” said Brandt. “We have a lot of schools and a lot of children that need to be protected and I really think that needs to be a number one priority for us.”

Legislators in the Senate Finance Committee heard the bill that includes public school funding Thursday, and recommended it pass.